The teams first met in the 1973 Sugar Bowl, a classic matchup in which Notre Dame claimed its second national title under coach Ara Parseghian with a 24-23 victory over Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide. ... Their last meeting was in 1987, when Notre Dame romped to a 37-6 victory in South Bend. ... The Fighting Irish won five times this season by a touchdown or less, including overtime triumphs over Stanford and Pittsburgh. ... Alabama had four shutouts (Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Western Carolina, Auburn). ... Notre Dame has a streak of nine straight bowl losses from 1995-2007, but the Irish have won two of their last three postseason games. ... Alabama athletic director Mal Moore coached at Notre Dame in the 1980s under Gerry Faust. ... The Crimson Tide has three All-Americans on its offensive line: first-teamers Barrett Jones at center and Chance Warmack at left guard, and second-teamer D.J. Fluker at right tackle. ... Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will be going for his 200th career victory.